Saturday, August 14, 2010

You Must Have Character(s)...

The great revision continues...  Which is why I haven't updated recently, sorry about that.  But, it's been quite the chore trying to whittle my novel down from 123,500 words to below 100,000 words.  Hardly a Herculean task, but it is time consuming. Mostly because when I've removed certain large scenes, I've been able to slip in new smaller ones.  These new scenes have helped move the plot along more quickly, but also build tension where there hadn't been enough before.  In the end I'm winding up with a better product.  Hooray for rewrites!

But I haven't been just doing the revision, I've taken time out to do some reading for my own enjoyment.  Currently, I'm re-reading "Ghost Story" by Peter Straub.  I first read this book back in 1980 and became enthralled.  Who would've thought that a mystery involving 4 old men, a young writer and a teenager could be such a page turner.  I enjoy Mr. Straub's handling of the characters and settings.  I also found the concept of using a Manitou for an antagonist quite refreshing.  How true Mr. Straub's is to the legendary creature is up for speculation.  All authors have the opportunity to put their own touch on such legendary and mythological creatures.  One only has to look at Anne Rice's or Stephanie Meyer's and their completely different takes on the vampire.

However, I think it's Mr. Straub's manner of dealing with his characters that I find most enjoyable.  They have their faults, weaknesses and frailties.  Yet they struggle against such incredible odds to win the day.  A flawed character is a far more interesting person to read about than a  perfect one.  The perfect character who is the most beautiful, talented, able to handle any situation can get downright boring fast.  Unless the author has given them a really well written adversary that challenges all their skills.  

Of course, in most books the protagonist is going to win the day.  But how they overcome their own insecurities, self doubts?  Do they have a history that haunts them or holds them back.  Did something happen in the past that cost them something emotionally, mentally or physically.  How does it relate to what their facing now?  Tie all those things together and you can wind up with a character the audience can relate to and want to cheer on.

That's all I've got for today.  More soon.  Enjoy your weekend everybody.